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How much do movers cost?

How much you’ll pay depends on the size of your home and how far you're moving

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by Jessica Render ConsumerAffairs Research Team
two movers carrying boxes

How much do movers cost?

Hiring movers can cost anywhere between a few hundred dollars and several thousand dollars, depending on how far you’re moving and how much work you’re willing to do yourself. The amount of personal property you’re moving also affects the total cost. People hire movers to save themselves time and stress and to ensure that their move is managed professionally.

Average moving costs

The average cost for a local move is $80 to $100 per hour for a team of two movers. The total cost you’ll pay for a local move is mostly a function of how long it takes the moving crew to load and unload the truck — meaning the more items you have, the more you’ll pay to move them.

A long-distance move is significantly more expensive. On average, it costs around $5,000 for a move that crosses state lines and spans a distance of more than 1,000 miles. Long-distance moving costs can range from a few thousand dollars to closer to $10,000, depending on the distance you’re traveling and the size of the load you’re moving.

How much do movers cost for a local move?

Local moves are charged
by the hour.

For local moves within 50 miles, you can expect to pay movers by the hour. If you have two people handling the move, average moving costs should be between $80 and $100 per hour. You can expect to pay more per hour for a larger crew, but you’ll likely finish faster, so costs tend to even out.

Average cost to move a three-bedroom house

Moving a three-bedroom house will cost you between $600 and $1,000 if you’re making a local move. This average is based on a moving weight of 10,000 pounds and doesn’t include extras like packing services.

Local move estimates can be calculated based on the size of your home:

Property sizeAverage weightNumber of hoursEstimated cost
1-bedroom home3,500 pounds3 to 5 hours$240 to $500
2-bedroom home5,000 pounds5 to 7 hours$400 to $700
3-bedroom home10,000 pounds7 to 10 hours$560 to $1,000
4-bedroom home12,000+ poundsOver 10 hours$800 to $2,000

Long-distance moving costs

Long-distance moves are charged by
mileage and weight.

When you’re budgeting for a long-distance move, you won’t pay by the hour with most moving companies. Instead, you’ll pay a flat fee based on your starting point, your ending point and the total weight or volume of furniture and other goods that you’re moving. Depending on the size of your load, you can expect to pay between $2,000 and $8,000 for professional movers to take you more than 100 miles from your current home.

The table below lays out a few long-distance move examples, factoring in an average three-bedroom home.

FromToMilesAverage cost
Los AngelesPhoenix365$3,753
Springfield, ILDenver811$4,760
Trenton, NJHouston1,367$5,930
Sacramento, CARaleigh, NC2,343$7,713

What factors affect your total moving cost?

There are a few key factors that affect your total moving cost.

  • The size of your home: Moving a four-bedroom house is understandably going to cost more than moving a studio apartment. When movers give you a quote, they will ask how many bedrooms you’re moving and the square footage of your house to give you an estimated cost, but they may need to do a walk-through of your home to provide you with the most accurate quote.
  • Location: If you live in an apartment building with a lot of stairs or a lack of close parking, you may be charged an extra fee. Even living on a higher floor can add to your cost. Your neighborhood can also affect your price. Not all city streets are wide enough for parking a moving truck. Some movers will include a surcharge if they have to walk more than 75 feet from your home to the truck.
  • Distance and travel fees: For a long-distance move, the distance between your current and future home is one of the main cost factors.
  • Extra stops: Making more than one stop will also cost extra, so expect to pay more if you’re loading or unloading items in multiple locations, like both your house and a storage unit.
  • Specialty items: Movers charge more to transport large, heavy or bulky items like pianos, grandfather clocks, delicate antiques and art. You’ll also need to factor in the cost of extra insurance for high-value items. Be prepared for some items that movers won’t move, like car batteries, pool chemicals and perishable items. They also recommend you move cherished personal items like family photos and heirloom jewelry yourself. It’s hard to put a price on those things, so consider making your own arrangements to transport them.

How much do moving services cost?

There will be extra charges for both local and long-distance moves if you choose to add on extra services.

  • Packing services cost: If you want your movers to pack and unpack your home, plan on spending an additional $300 to $500. You’ll pay for labor by the hour, and there may be additional costs to cover supplies. The added cost could be worth it for the amount of time and stress you can save by not having to pack up your house yourself.
  • Storage unit cost: If you need to store your items in a portable storage container or a storage unit, don’t forget to factor that cost into your total moving budget. Storage services can be a handy solution when needed, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to a few hundred dollars each month your belongings are in storage, depending on the size of the unit or container you need.
  • Moving insurance cost: Moving insurance protects you financially if your items are lost or damaged during a move. The average cost for full-value protection moving insurance is between 1% and 5% of the value of the insured goods. If you want to insure $10,000 worth of items, you can expect to pay between $100 and $500 for moving insurance.
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Moving cost FAQ

How much does a moving truck cost to rent?
Renting a moving truck for a do-it-yourself move can cost anywhere from $100 to several thousand dollars, depending on the specifics of your move. The truck size, the time it takes you to move, the distance you need to drive and gasoline prices all play a factor in the cost to rent a moving truck. A local move is likely to be pretty affordable and cost a few hundred dollars or less, while a cross-country trek will be significantly more expensive.
How much do moving boxes cost?
The cost of moving boxes depends on size and style. The size of your home and where you rank on the scale of minimalist to pack rat will determine how many boxes you need. For the average three-bedroom home, we estimate brand-new boxes will cost around $450. This includes a mix of small, medium and large boxes, plus wardrobe boxes and picture boxes.

You can save a significant amount of money by reusing old boxes and collecting boxes from friends, family or local stores that are willing to give you any they were planning to recycle. You can also opt out of purchasing specialty boxes like wardrobe boxes if you prefer. While these boxes make it easier to store and transport your clothing, you can also fold and store these items in regular boxes or large trash bags, especially for local moves.

How much do moving supplies cost?
Moving supplies include items such as bubble cushioning material, packing tape, packing paper and stretch wrap to protect furniture from damage. For a three-bedroom home, you can plan to add another $80 or so to your budget for these items.

Some cost-saving measures include using old newspapers in place of packing paper or cushioning material, but you don’t want to skimp on protecting fragile items. It can be much cheaper to invest in bubble cushioning material than to replace an item if it breaks during a move.

How much do you tip movers?
We recommend tipping movers between 5% and 20% of the total cost of the move, but you are not required to tip your movers, especially if you are dissatisfied with the service.
How much does it cost to move a car?
You can expect to pay between $500 to $1,500 to ship a car long-distance. Transporting a vehicle is a special service not provided by most movers. You’ll want to look for a company that specializes in auto transport.

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    How to calculate moving costs

    To calculate moving costs, you’ll need to factor in the weight of your belongings, the distance of the move and labor costs. For a local move, you’ll be charged for labor by the hour, so the biggest factor will be how much stuff you have and how long it takes the movers to load and unload your boxes.

    $40 per hour x 2 movers = $80 per hour x 8 hours = $640

    Add in any extras, like charges for specialty items, stair fees or packing materials you’ll be buying, to get your total estimated moving cost.

    Long-distance moves aren’t as easy to estimate through simple formulas, though you can expect to pay more the farther you travel. Your best bet is to get a quote from a few different companies during the planning phase of your move.

    Bottom line: Understanding moving costs

    A professional mover can cost you a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the key factors of your move, like the distance, the number of labor hours and the size of your home. While the price of a long-distance move may give you sticker shock, it’s important to consider the savings in time and stress that come with professional assistance. There are ways to make your move cheaper, including purging items you no longer need in advance and moving during an off-season like winter.

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    by Jessica Render ConsumerAffairs Research Team

    As a member of the ConsumerAffairs research team, Jessica Render is dedicated to providing well-researched, valuable content designed to help consumers make informed purchase decisions they can feel confident making. She holds a degree in journalism from Oral Roberts University.